On Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced criminal charges in a use-of-force investigation against two former Whittier police officers that left an unarmed man paralyzed.
According to Gascón, former Whittier PD Detective Cynthia Lopez and Salvador Murillo were driving in an unmarked vehicle in regular clothes when they spotted a Mitsubishi sedan. The sedan was reportedly connected to a woman who was suspected in a recent unarmed robbery at an area Walmart.
The investigation reveals Lopez and Murillo followed the Mitsubishi into an ally, requested backup and a third officer from Whittier PD arrived at the scene. The officers then exited their vehicles with weapons drawn, the Mitsubishi went into reverse and collided with the unmarked patrol vehicle’s front bumper.
The suspect, Nicholas Carrillo, began running away from the scene and the officers. During the foot pursuit, Lopez and Murillo fired several rounds at Carrillo. He was shot twice in the back, and one of the shots severed his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
While he survived the shooting “his life is forever changed and must now navigate using a wheelchair,” Gascón said. Investigators found he was unarmed at the time of the shooting and no weapons were found inside his vehicle.
Murillo has been charged with two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm causing great bodily injury and two counts of assault under the collar authority causing great bodily injury. Lopez has been charged with two counts under the collar authority of causing great bodily injury and one count of shooting an unoccupied vehicle, along with one count of assault with a semi-automatic firearm.
Both former officers are no longer on the force, and photos of them have not been released. The charges were filed Tuesday after a thorough investigation conducted by the LA County Sheriff’s Department.